The ‘Food at the Heart of Our Society – A Prospectus for Change’, was launched today by DAERA Minister Edwin Poots at the Balmoral Show. It aims to create Northern Ireland’s first ever Food Strategy Framework. The consultation will be open for eight weeks and close on 19 November.
Speaking about the consultation, the Minister said: “Northern Ireland is already renowned for its high-quality, tasty, welfare-focussed, award-winning and environmentally sustainable food. We punch well above our weight on the world stage and our food ends up on plates all across the globe.
“It’s now time to focus our efforts on taking such a fantastic product and ensuring we maximise its benefits for our local health, economy, environment and for the generations to come. There are major linkages across these areas that we must tap into in order to ensure Northern Ireland is recognised globally as the home of sustainable food – ensuring our food sector is able to adapt to future issues like climate change, and be able to feed a population that is more aware than ever of where their food comes from, how it gets to the plate and its impact on their health and on the planet.
“By working together, we can transform our food system into one that protects natural resources for future generations, is economically and environmentally sustainable and provides safe, nourishing, accessible food to people, who make informed healthy choices."
The Minister concluded: “It’s particularly fitting in Northern Ireland’s centenary year to chart the way ahead for our food sector. In the last 100 years, NI’s food production has changed beyond recognition thanks to advancements in technology, scientific developments, the use of robotics, welcome improvements in animal welfare standards and our understanding of how we use our natural resources.
“I want everyone in Northern Ireland with an interest in food to have their say and tell us what they think about the Framework. My officials will be holding a number of webinars over the consultation period and I would encourage members of the public to take part in these and to go online and let us know what they think through the Citizenspace website. Once the consultation is complete I intend to discuss the results with my Executive Colleagues and to consider publishing an agreed cross Departmental Food Strategy Framework for Northern Ireland.”